Mexico’s $20 Billion Shakedown | – Federation for American Immigration Reform

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FAIR Take | April 2024

Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has his American counterpart in a tough situation and he aims to capitalize on it. It was Joe Biden who put himself in this position, but it is the rest of us who may end up paying for it.

President Biden has spent the last three-plus years creating and perpetuating the biggest, most expensive and most dangerous illegal immigration crisis this country has ever experienced. It is a crisis that is deeply troubling to the American public and one for which they hold the president personally responsible. Up until now, President Biden hasn’t particularly cared what the American people think about his open-borders policies, but he does now because he will be on the ballot in November.

Politically, President Biden can’t just start enforcing all the border and immigration laws he has spent the past three years undermining, even though he has all the legal authority he needs to do so. That would further infuriate his far-left base that is already threatening to stay home on Election Day over his handling of the Israel-Hamas war.


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Instead, what he would like is for out-going President Lopez Obrador to do it for him. President Biden would like nothing more than to see the unpopular record flows of illegal migrants subside ahead of the elections, allowing him to maintain plausible deniability with the mass immigration advocates in his own party.

AMLO has signaled that he is willing to play ball, but it’s going to come at a cost. During an interview with 60 Minutes last week, he issued the same demands he made back in January – and they’re steep. First, AMLO wants $20 billion in U.S. foreign aid to flow to Latin American and Caribbean nations. He also wants a de facto amnesty for 10 million Hispanic illegal aliens living in the U.S. in the form of work authorization (which would enable them to send even more money to their homelands in the form of remittances). And, he is demanding that sanctions against Venezuela and the blockade of Cuba be lifted.

It is not even clear if AMLO has the ability to stanch the flow of migrants making their way through Mexico en route to the U.S. border. He would have to contend with some very powerful criminal cartels in Mexico that are reaping staggering profits smuggling and trafficking people (and drugs) across our border. They are not likely to cooperate in order to help Joe Biden get reelected and AMLO’s protégé, Claudia Sheinbaum, succeed him as president of Mexico. Mexico’s presidential election is in June, but AMLO’s term does not expire until December 1.

Worse yet, as National Public Radio (not exactly a harsh critic of President Biden’s open-borders policies) has suggested, AMLO may be in a position to engage in outright blackmail ahead of the U.S. election. In a recent on-air interview of Washington Post reporter Eduardo Porter, NPR anchor Sasha Pfeiffer suggested that AMLO could squeeze the Biden administration in countless ways by threatening an “October surprise.”

“Mexico might say, if you tick us off politically, we will open the valve,” Pfeiffer posited. “Exactly,” Porter responded. “I mean, the surprise is a number. It’s, say, 400,000 migrants running into Border Patrol agents, trying to get into the United States without authorization, you know, in Texas or Arizona…Everybody is aware that a problematic border come, you know, October, even September would be very bad for the Biden administration and for the president’s chances of being reelected.”

Of course, Joe Biden is not just a candidate for President of the United States. He is the President of the United States. As such, he has all the legal authority and tools at his disposal to control our borders and enforce our immigration laws. Moreover, it is in Mexico’s interests to maintain good relations with the United States, even without shaking us down for $20 billion and 10 million work visas. We have many common interests, not the least of which is being Mexico’s largest trading partner, accounting for 78 percent of that country’s exports, totaling $493 billion in 2022.

AMLO’s blatant attempt to extort the United States is yet another in a long, long list of vulnerabilities that are a direct result of our own failures and refusals to secure our borders and enforce our laws. Regardless of who is elected in November, AMLO has just shown us why we must never again allow any foreign government to control the flow of migrants to our borders and dictate the terms for doing so.

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